Risk Factors for Sexually Transmitted Infections among Young Adolescents
Significant numbers of adolescents are initiating sexual activity at age 17 and younger. Little is known about this younger population of adolescents. This includes risk or protective factors for sexual activity and sexually transmitted infection (STI) acquisition. To safeguard all adolescents from the consequences of risky sexual behaviors, and to insure age appropriate and effective interventions, further study is critical to address risky behaviors specific to early adolescents. This study was a retrospective chart review of 155 sexually active adolescent girls. Students were divided into those who never had a documented STI and those who had 1 or more STIs. Data were collected from a sexual history questionnaire. These data were grouped into risk or protective domains. Domains were made up of 5 items of protective factors, 3 items of peer risks, 2 items of family risks, and 7 items of individual risks. STI outcomes were compared to these characteristics. One hundred fifty-five sexually active adolescents were studied. A univariate and multivariate analysis of risk and protective factors for testing positive for an STI demonstrated that high levels of protective factors reduced the risk of STIs. This suggests that STI prevention programs should focus on increasing protective factors among young adolescents in addition to reducing risk factors.
STI (Sexually transmited infections), adolescents, risk factors, Trichomonas vaginalis, Chlamydia trachomatis